Rotarians reuse, recycle furniture for those in need

Recently a woman said sadly that she put her used furniture on the curb to be picked up by city workers, only to have it ruined by an overnight rain.

For the last 20 years, the Shakopee Rotary Club has sponsored a program other cities could copy that would solve that woman’s problem of ruined furniture.

This year the club will sponsor a used furniture pickup while cooperating with the city of Shakopee’s Clean Up Day on April 29. On that day residents can take their housewares and used furniture to the city’s garage area where Rotarians will load usable furniture and other household items into a huge semitrailer, provided by Bridging. This well-known agency accepts usable furniture items and then warehouses and provides them to people in need who have been referred by area service agencies.

At the same time, Shakopee Rotarians, using donated vans, also pick up used furniture at residents’ homes.

Lee Hennen, a Shakopee Rotarian, directs the service project. He says the annual furniture pickup works because of the excellent cooperation of the city of Shakopee. The city handles all the advertising and provides the collection facility in conjunction with Clean Up Day.

Hennen said that due to the city’s cooperation, it costs the Rotary Club only $100 to operate the furniture collection.

Over the last 20 years, Hennen figures Rotarians have filled 30 semitrailers with furniture items.

He said this is a project other cities could copy, particularly if they received cooperation from their city government. Hennen would be glad to talk to anyone interested in starting a furniture pickup; he can be called at 612-968-4382. He particularly invites Rotary clubs to sponsor a used furniture collection.
“Everyone is a winner,” he said.
Before you place your still usable furniture on the curb during these annual citywide pickups, stop and think of how someone in your community could sit on your used but reliable couch if you would only take it to an agency that could make it available for some needy family. — Don Heinzman, ECM columnist